Pompeo to visit North Korea again at weekend despite negative signals

Pompeo to visit North Korea again at weekend despite negative signals

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to North Korea at the weekend for denuclearization talks with the country’s leader Kim Jong Un, the State Department said on Tuesday, calling this “forward progress,” despite negative signals from Pyongyang, according to Reuters.

Pompeo will also travel to Japan, South Korea and China from Oct. 6-8, and will be in North Korea on Sunday local time, or Saturday in US Eastern Time.

“I think it shows forward progress and momentum that the secretary is making his fourth trip back in less than a year,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a briefing, referring to the Pyongyang stop.

“Of course, we have quite a ways to go but we look forward to the next steps in this conversation.”

Pompeo’s visit comes ahead of a planned second summit between Kim and President Donald Trump. The invitation to return to Pyongyang was made during a meeting with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho on the sidelines of their United Nations General Assembly last week.

Nauert said the stops in Japan, South Korea and China were intended to brief counterparts on the Pyongyang talks. She said he would meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Foreign Minister Taro Kono in Tokyo and President Moon Jae-in and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha in Seoul, while in Beijing he would meet counterparts to discuss “bilateral, regional and global issues.”

At an unprecedented June meeting with Trump, Kim pledged to work toward denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but his actions have fallen short of Washington’s demands for a complete inventory of its nuclear weapons and irreversible steps to give up an arsenal that potentially threatens the United States.

Trump has nevertheless hailed progress and on Saturday took his enthusiasm for his detente with Kim to new heights by declaring at a rally with supporters that “we fell in love” after exchanging letters.

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